God’s Saving Word: Faith
Galatians 3:15—4:7: Paul uses the example of Abraham to demonstrate that faith in Christ makes one a child of God and a descendant of Abraham and an heir to God’s promises. He contrasts dependence on obeying the Law versus a life of faith that is dependent on God’s promises. Paul assures the Galatians that, through faith, people are put right with God and live in union with Christ Jesus and, as stated in 3:28, there is no difference among the Lord’s followers.
The Law and the Promise
15 My friends, I am going to use an everyday example: when two people agree on a matter and sign an agreement, no one can break it or add anything to it. 16 Now, God made his promises to Abraham and to his descendant. The scripture does not use the plural “descendants,” meaning many people, but the singular “descendant,” meaning one person only, namely, Christ. 17 What I mean is that God made a covenant with Abraham and promised to keep it. The Law, which was given four hundred and thirty years later, cannot break that covenant and cancel God’s promise. 18 For if God’s gift depends on the Law, then it no longer depends on his promise. However, it was because of his promise that God gave that gift to Abraham.
19 What, then, was the purpose of the Law? It was added in order to show what wrongdoing is, and it was meant to last until the coming of Abraham’s descendant, to whom the promise was made. The Law was handed down by angels, with a man acting as a go-between. 20 But a go-between is not needed when only one person is involved; and God is one.[a]
The Purpose of the Law
21 Does this mean that the Law is against God’s promises? No, not at all! For if human beings had received a law that could bring life, then everyone could be put right with God by obeying it. 22 But the scripture says that the whole world is under the power of sin; and so the gift which is promised on the basis of faith in Jesus Christ is given to those who believe.
23 But before the time for faith came, the Law kept us all locked up as prisoners until this coming faith should be revealed. 24 And so the Law was in charge of us until Christ came, in order that we might then be put right with God through faith. 25 Now that the time for faith is here, the Law is no longer in charge of us.
26 It is through faith that all of you are God’s children in union with Christ Jesus. 27 You were baptized into union with Christ, and now you are clothed, so to speak, with the life of Christ himself. 28 So there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles, between slaves and free people, between men and women; you are all one in union with Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are the descendants of Abraham and will receive what God has promised.
4 But now to continue—the son who will receive his father’s property is treated just like a slave while he is young, even though he really owns everything. 2 While he is young, there are men who take care of him and manage his affairs until the time set by his father. 3 In the same way, we too were slaves of the ruling spirits of the universe before we reached spiritual maturity. 4 But when the right time finally came, God sent his own Son. He came as the son of a human mother and lived under the Jewish Law, 5 to redeem those who were under the Law, so that we might become God’s children.
6 To show that you are[b] his children, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who cries out, “Father, my Father.” 7 So then, you are no longer a slave but a child. And since you are his child, God will give you all that he has for his children.
Today’s Key Verse: Galatians 3:26
It is through faith that all of you are God’s children in union with Christ Jesus.
What does Paul say regarding the purpose of the Law (3:19-25)? Reread verses 26-29. What does it mean to you to be “in union with Christ Jesus”? What does this say to you about your relationship with other believers?
Lord Jesus, I am filled with joy because, as a child of God, I know I belong to you and live in union with you. Because I have faith in you, I am assured that I am an heir to God’s promises.
I thank you, God, that you have sent the Spirit of your Son into my heart. Amen.
Galatians 4:8-31: Paul continues to express his concern for the Galatians.